UP Fighting Maroons inspire songs and poetry championing community spirit

UP Fighting Maroons
Credits UPMBT social media.

The inspiring journey of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (MBT), from cellar-dweller to superstar team that draws massive crowds and rockstar attention to its University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) games, has been captured in poetry and song rendered by members of the UP community.

The day after the University of Santo Tomas team won the right to face the second seed UP MBT in the semi-finals, two music videos came out on social media with images and songs that portray how the UP community supports and loves its varsity squad.

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The much-awaited reboot of the ATIN ‘TO anthem, released by Rye x BLKD x Raimund Marasigan in November 2018 as the UP Fighting Maroons fought its way towards its first finals berth in 32 years at the UAAP, was finally heard by the public on November 7, 2019.

The new release by Juss Rye, BLKD, & Raimund Marasigan is titled, LABAN, UP! the Filipino equivalent of the roaring UP Fight cheer.

The opening brings back the familiar beat of “Sabay, sabay itaas ang kamao” that captures the UP community’s unified stance of raised clenched fists at the singing of the school anthem, “UP Naming Mahal”.

The very same line now seems more in line with the UP’s defiance of the odds set against the UP Fighting Maroons as it faces a formidable challenger to its spot in the finals and its eventual battle with the defending champion.

The LABAN, UP! song produced by Ryan Armamento and Rollie Fabi and written and performed by BLKD for Uprising Records, runs a little over two minutes and bears most of the lines from the original ATIN ‘TO of 2018.

The lines speak of the very same community spirit that carried the basketball team towards the finals of Season 81, with additional lines that illustrate the current mood of the UP.

“Suot ang dangal ng suportang malakas, Mapagkumbabang tumanaw pataas” speak of the armor that the 2019 UPMBT wears – the honor of the support of the UP community, even as it reminds the squad to remain humble.

“Walang atrasan anumang kaharap, Lumalagablab luntian at pula, Alab na ‘di maaapula” reaffirms the cheer and chants for the brave court warriors, of proudly carrying the green and maroon colors of UP, and of the unstoppable fire in the gut and heart of the UP Fighting Maroons.

The addition of the “Iskolar ng bayan! Ngayon ay lumalaban!” brings in the UP activist battle cry heard in rallies – a statement that the UP Fight continues beyond ball games.

The lyric video of the LABAN, UP! song takes the viewer through the streets and spots of UP Diliman and can be viewed as a tour of the UP, but the reddish color hints it may not necessarily be intended for that. It is something much more telling of the UP Fight beyond the hardcourt.

WATCH Juss Rye, BLKD & Raimund Marasigan’s LABAN, UP! here


An acoustic version of the university anthem, “UP Naming Mahal“, also went online on Thursday with Johnoy Danao (Ikaw At Ako, Dapithapon) playing the guitar and singing the song like a love ditty.

“Humayo’t itanghal, giting at tapang, mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan” crooned Danao, as if he was delivering a loveline.

Renan Dalisay, of the Nowhere To Go But UP Foundation that was at the forefront of infusing new life into the UP squad, said it was a tribute to the UP community and its supporters who even pray for wins as the UP MBT goes into its next games.

The UP MBT social media released the song as a music video using the footage from its games, accepting the tribute and sending love back to the UP community.

WATCH the UP Men’s Basketball Team’s video using Johnoy Danao’s version of UP Naming Mahal here


The Nowhere To Go But UP social media has been posting poetic lines after every cardiac game of the UP Fighting Maroons. The poems captured the brilliance of Kobe Paras, the breakout game of Ricci Rivero, the great team work that gave the UP MBT a 9-5 finish in the prelims, and the tale of Bo Perasol.

Penned by Aldin Sabater, the lines capture the heart of the squad and the community that supports its never-say-die attitude at the games.

The poetry went hyper after winning games, praising one and all while delivering analysis of the high and low points.

And when the team lost a game it still went online with verses that acknowledge the pain but urging everyone to moving on and look towards a better next time.

After the UP MBT’s final premilinary round game against Ateneo on October 30 that gave the squad its best finish at the UAAP prelims, another poem went up on the Nowhere To Go But UP social media that fittingly captures the highs and lows of the blood-pressure-moving cardiac games of the UP Fighting Maroons.

The UP community fill any game venue with its spirit and roars of UP Fight. Credits to University of the Philippines social media.

Reposted from Nowhere To Go But UP:

Masakit man, #UPFight pa rin! Salamat sa tula, Aldin Sabater.

Oo malungkot na naman tayong umuwi
Yung sakit, di basta basta napawi
Pumasok sa court, lahat nakangiti
Lumabas sa Moa, lahat nakangiwi
Ang galing na natin nung una
In fact, lumamang pa nga tayo di ba?

Kala natin, “Kaya naman pala!”
Pero anong nangyari? Nabugbog sa depensa
Nakita natin yung galing ng Ateneo
Sa defense, medyo lamang nga sa inyo
Sa mga calls, masyado rin tayong nagpaapekto
Nawala sa focus, ayun nagkalat tuloy tayo

Andami nung mga di maingat na pasa
Pinilit yung mga drive na di maganda
Pero may halong malas nga lang talaga
Pati yung outside shooting, nawala na
Nasobrahan din ata tayo sa ice cream
Dapat ata yung onti lang, yung tikim-tikim

Nanlamig na tayo sa depensa,
Natunaw pa yung ating opensa
Sabi pa nga nung isang kuya
Ateno-UST daw ang finals na gusto nya
“Kyah, kyah, hanggang dyan ka na lang ba?”
Di pa tapos yung laban, sumusuko ka na?

Hindi ok pero ok pa rin yan, UP MBT
Malayo na ang narating at maipagmamalaki
Magpahinga muna tapos panoorin ang mali
Mag-improve tapos bumawi na lang uli
Di na kami maselan sa 9-5 na standing
Season 59 pa yung huling ganyan natin

Nung 0-13 nga di namin kayo iniwan
Twice-to-beat tayo bes tapos saka susukuan?!
Kita nyo naman nung last 2 minutes na lang
Yung sigawan parang 2 points lang ang lamang
Di tulad nung mga ,ehem, arneyo
Tahimik lang parang walang ganang manalo

Masakit yan pero kadamay nyo kami
Abangers na lang muna tayo sa FEU vs UST
Basta andito lang ang buong UP community
Sisigaw, lalaban kasama nyo hanggang huli!

The UP community cheers, chants, and sings anew as the UP Fighting Maroons battle the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday, November 10, 4 PM at the Araneta Coliseum.

SEND cheers in the comments below for the UP Fighting Maroons and the UP communities around the world!

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